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IT'S NOT ABOUT THE MONEY: (Clockwise from top left) Jack Dorsey, Jack Ma, Bill Gates, Li Ka-shing, Azim Premji, Khalaf Al Habtoor, George Soros and Giorgio Armani. Billionaires have stepped forward to try and bring healing to the world ravaged by the deadly coronavirus. They have declared their intent to donate millions, if not billions, in efforts to help alleviate the COVID-19 outbreak, some of the money will help the patients and healthcare workers who need them, while others will be used for research to find a cure.
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LI KA-SHING: Hong Kong's richest man, Li Ka-Shing (chairman of CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd. and CK Asset Holdings Ltd.) said on February 10 that he would donate HK$100 million ($13 million) to help medical workers in Wuhan on February 10. Li's foundation also worked to source medical supplies for health care workers in Wuhan and Hong Kong. Li said he planned to make his donation to the Red Cross Society of China, which has no connection to The American Red Cross, according to Bloomberg.
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GIORGIO ARMANI: Fashion designer Giorgio Armani, 85, gave €1.25 million ($1.43 million) to help fight the outbreak in Italy on March 8. The Italian billionaire's gift went to two hospitals and a research institute in Milan and another in Rome, Women's Wear Daily reported.
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GEORGE SOROS. The Former hedge fund manager pledged €1 million ($1.1 million) to his native Budapest on March 30. The €1 million gift, paid out through Soros' Open Society Foundation, will go to helping Budapest's municipal government provide for the Hungarian capital's elderly and homeless populations during what Soros called an "unprecedented emergency," according to a statement to Business Insider. "I was born in Budapest, in the middle of the Great Depression, barely a decade after the Spanish Flu left thousands of dead in Budapest," Soros said in a statement. "I lived through World War II, the Arrow Cross rule, and the siege in the city. I remember what it is like to live in extreme circumstances." Soros left Budapest and built an $8.3 billion fortune running what was once the world's largest hedge fund.
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JACK MA: On January 30, 2020, China's richest man and Alibaba founder Jack Ma, 55, pledged 100 million yuan ($14.5 million) to "support the development of a coronavirus vaccine". Ma, with an estimated net worth of $39.6 billion, announced the donation on Weibo. Two Chinese government research organizations will receive $5.8 million of the donation to work on creating a vaccine, Axios reported. "We know that the battle between humanity and disease is a long journey," Ma's foundation said a post on its Weibo account. "This money will help various medical research efforts and help disease prevention." Ma also donated an additional $2.15 million to the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Australia, to help fund the development of a vaccine, according to Fox Business.
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BILL GATES: On February 5, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced that it will commit up to $100 million for the global response to the to treat what he's calling a "once-in-a-century pathogen," referring to the 2019 novel coronavirus. The funding is aimed to help strengthen detection, isolation and treatment efforts; protect at-risk populations; and develop vaccines, treatments and diagnostics. The new funding is inclusive of $10 million the foundation committed to the outbreak in late January.
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JACK DORSEY: Billionaire tech entrepreneur Jack Dorsey pledged $1b in the COVID-19 fight on Tuesday, April 7, 2020. Dorsey, CEO of both Twitter and digital payments platform Square, said that he will donate $1 billion worth of equity in Square to his Start Small LLC to fund COVID-19 relief around the world. Dorsey made the announcement in a tweet, revealing that the amount is equivalent to roughly 28 percent of his current net worth, or about $3.6 billion. The announcement marks the most significant philanthropic effort from the 43-year-old tech executive in his career.
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KHALAF A L HABTOOR: On March 19, Emirati businessman Khalaf Al Habtoor announced that he donate 50 state-of-the-art ambulances and a medically-equipped building to be used for quarantine purposes in UAE. As part of the humanitarian gesture, Al Habtoor also announced he will establish an integrated virology laboratory for medical research to support global efforts in the fight against the coronavirus. Al Habtoor said the people of the UAE have shown that they are committed to provide every support they can during this critical period. “The people of the country have responded positively to the directives of the country’s leadership, which greatly supports the UAE’s efforts to continue being a global model for high safety and security standards. As the world faces major health challenges, it is critical that everyone joins forces to overcome this crisis period,” he said.
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AZIM PREMJI: One of the world’s most generous billionaires Azim Premji. His charitable initiative – Azim Premji Foundation and Wipro – the IT major he founded – has set aside ₹1,125 crore to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Of the ₹1,125 crore, Wipro’s commitment is ₹100 crore, Wipro Enterprises is ₹25 crore. The Azim Premji Foundation accounts for ₹1,000 crore of the funds. His donation will focus on providing immediate humanitarian aid. In March 2019, Premji earmarked all economic benefits for philanthropy, setting aside 34 per cent of Wipro shares worth $7.5 billion. As of June 2019, his total contribution to philanthropy stood at a whopping $21 billion, including 67 per cent of the ownership of Wipro.
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RATAN TATA: In March, Ratan Tata, the chairman emeritus of the Tata Group announced that the group and the Tata Trusts will donate ₹500 crore for the coronavirus pandemic. Soon after, Tata Sons had pledged an additional ₹1000 crore, or a total of ₹1,500 crore ($196,908).
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